Dinner for Schmucks

Tim Conrad (Paul Rudd) is a financial analyst who eyes a promotion to afford all the things he wants in his life: A fast car, a fancy apartment and a happy life together with his girlfriend Julie (Stephanie Szostak). After nailing a presentation, Tim impresses his boss, who is keen to promote him providing he attends a dinner party with a twist—all guests at the party must bring an eccentrically talented “idiot” to provide entertainment. Driving down a street while using his cell phone, Tim knocks down Barry (Steve Carell). Barry appears unharmed and tells Tim about his peculiar hobby—he collects dead mice, stuffs them and poses them in lifelike human positions and recreations of great art he calls “Mouseterpieces.” Tim has found his idiot.With each lifeless comedy that opens, it seems more and more as if filmmakers have forgotten how to make us laugh. Rather, they appear to take pleasure in abusing us with humor which wouldn’t amuse a mollusk. With that in mind, watching a movie called Dinner for Schmucks might sound like taking a football to the crotch, but refreshingly, it’s actually very funny.An adaptation of the 1998 French comedy Le dîner de cons, the film features Carell at his best in the sort of lovable comedic role he owns. Rather than portraying an abhorrent goofball, in Carell’s Barry you see shades of Peter Sellers in The Party. Schmucks is a film that relies heavily on physical comedy, but it doesn’t go too far overboard; it fluctuates between madness and subtlety.Jemaine Clement, better known as one half of the band Flight of the Conchords is the definition of a scenestealer in his role as Kieran Vollard, an artist with a “unique” working process. Every word he speaks and every gesture he makes is side-splitting.Dinner for Schmucks is a madcap comedy which succeeds because of standout characters and great writing. Barry’s mice form a humorous yet endearing motif through the chaos and carnage he brings to Tim’s life. On its hysterical path, Dinner for Schmucks proves that funny movies can still be made.